I hadn’t used tampons in five years–until recently. If you love the convenience and comfort of disposable tampons but are wary of the dangers of tampons, I can’t wait to tell you about a great alternative.
Warning to all the men: You might want to skip this post. This post is for female eyes only. Got it?!
When I was in the 8th grade, I called the emergency hotline number on the back of a package of tampons.
Writhing in pain on the bathroom floor of my best friend’s house, I was sure that I had been stricken with the deadly disease connected with tampon use, TSS (or toxic shock syndrome).
Only a year into menstruation, cramping was a whole new experience for me. Why else would this hurt so much? TSS was the only logical conclusion my 14-year-old brain could imagine.
I can laugh at that time now–because I know that TSS is so rare, with only 1-2 cases per 100,000 women each year (source).
However, I have spent the past five years completely worry-free about the illness because, after learning about even more disconcerting risks of using tampons, I gave them up all together.
When I made the transition to living a more natural lifestyle, I decided to not only switch from processed to whole foods and from conventional to toxin-free household products, but I also gave a hard look at the ingredients in my conventional feminine hygiene products.
After all, although we ladies only use feminine hygiene products once per month, we position them in the most intimate parts of our bodies. If I cared enough to stopped using toxic skincare products, wouldn’t feminine care products be all that more important?
What I discovered about the dangers of conventional tampons, in particular, was alarming:
- Conventional tampons are comprised of synthetic materials that make them cheaper for companies to produce. These materials can include rayon, which is derived from wood pulp and combined with cotton (source).
- Conventional tampons may be treated with harsh chemical cleansing agents, fragrance, and dyes (source).
- Conventional tampons contain pesticides sprayed on cotton crops (source).
- Since 94 percent of all U.S.-grown cotton is genetically engineered, cotton used in conventional tampons is most likely GMO (source). If I avoid GMOs in my food, why would I want to insert GMO-cotton down there?
- The FDA doesn’t require brands to disclose a comprehensive list of ingredients in their tampons, so most of them don’t (source).
In his article “Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients,” Dr. Joseph Mercola writes:
“Tampons and pads with odor neutralizers and artificial fragrances are virtually a chemical soup, laced with artificial colors, polyester, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene and propylene glycol (PEG), contaminants linked to hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects, dryness and infertility.” (source)
Have these facts made you want to run to your bathroom drawer, grab up all your conventional tampons, and flush them down the toilet?
(Wait! Don’t do that! It will cause a major plumbing problem!)
Or, are you in tears because there is no way, no how you are ever going to give up the convenience and comfort of disposable tampons?
I’m not here to convince you to give up disposable feminine hygiene products or tampons all together. Rather, I want to encourage you to be mindful of the ingredients of every.single.thing you put into your body.
In his article “Dangers of Feminine Hygiene Products That Every Woman Needs to Know,” Mercola went on to say: “If you prefer the convenience and fit of tampons to pads, you should use only those that are natural, with NO synthetic ingredients…” (source)
There are alternatives for those who don’t want to give up tampons all together but get the heevy jeevies at the thought of reusable alternatives.
Thankfully, I recently discovered a disposable tampon that is made with 100% European cotton and has BPA-free applicators–LOLA.
I’ve had the opportunity to give LOLA a try, and I’ll be honest: I had completely forgotten how wearing tampons can make you almost forget you are on your period!
Although I don’t mind using pads, you can’t ever forget Aunt Flo while wearing them. They are a constant reminder that it’s that time of the month.
When it comes to swimming and exercise, you might as well take one week off each month. (And just pray your family vacation to the beach doesn’t coincide with your period!)
For the past five years, I’ve either not exercised or swam during my period, or I’ve cringed and used a conventional tampon during family swimming vacations, albeit with the knowledge in the back of my head that I was using something that could be harming me.
I’m excited that I can now add LOLA tampons to my feminine hygiene safe list and no longer have qualms about using tampons during my period.
Not only are LOLA tampons a safe alternative to conventional brands, but they also make it impossible to start your period without having feminine hygiene products on hand.
Is anyone out there the type to start your period and then think: “Oh man! I need to run to the store! I’m out of tampons!”
Yep–that was me!
LOLA offers a subscription that is fully customizable. LOLA’s subscription is super flexible, you can change, skip, or cancel at any time.
You can choose your mix of light, regular, and supers, your number of boxes, and frequency of delivery, so you don’t ever have to text your hubby on the way home from work: “Will you PLEASE stop by the store and get me some tampons?!”
Your husband will forever be indebted to you for crossing this particular after-work store run off his list!
Special Offer: First 100 Readers Get 50% off your first LOLA Order!
If you are wanting to ditch conventional tampons but aren’t willing to give up tampons all together, I’m excited to share that LOLA has made a special offer just for 100 of my readers!
This is how it works:
Go to this link.
Use code HumbledHomemaker to get 50% off your first order! Please note that this is for new customers only, and LOLA is only available in the continental U.S. and does not ship to Hawaii or Alaska.
Do you use tampons? Were you aware of the dangers of conventional tampons?
Thank you, LOLA, for partnering with me to educate my readers on safe tampons.
Disclaimer: This blog is for entertainment purposes only. I am just a mom who loves to research. Please conduct your own research and consult your trusted healthcare professional before making any decisions regarding your health.
“Here’s What Could be Hiding in Your Tampon” @ Huffington Post
“Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients” @ Huffington Post
“Dangers of Feminine Hygiene Products That Every Woman Needs to Know” @ Mercola.com
Menstrual cups are awesome. Way better than tampons…. they are so cool and you can be environmentally conscious and save money as well!
I have written about reusables in the past and love them, but I’ve had many readers (and personal friends) tell me they will never go that route and think reusables are gross. I thought this would be a good alternative!
I fully agree. When I first heard of them years ago–my family belonged to a survey group called National Family Opinions–I thought it was the grossest idea ever. But I tried them and they are GREAT! Granted, you want to plan so you never need to change in a public bathroom. But as long as you can make it through a day and do your changing at home, they’re awesome. They’re economical and you can’t even feel them. Plus there’s the small benefit of not having your sex life put on hold for a week or more at a time.
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
I won’t be needing this for a while still, but I like the idea of trying a more natural alternative to tampons, before giving other options a try. Thanks for sharing. I had no idea these were even an option.
I didn’t know they were an option a few years ago either! I’m so glad to know now. I hope my girls can start out using more natural alternatives–you know, a LONG time from now when they need them!! 🙂
I use a Diva menstrual cup and LOVE it!! They seem to hold more than a super tampon so I feel I have less bathroom breaks dealing with my cycle. And I love toward the end of my cycle when I only have to clean the cup every 12 hours or more. No tampon can do that.
Yes, the cups are nice. I have written about them before. However, I know people who do not like the idea of reusables and think reusables are gross. I thought this would be a good alternative.
I think that most people switching to a more earth-friendly lifestyle have to get past a few stumbling blocks. When I first used a cup, I was a little leery, but once I found out how perfectly they fit into my lifestyle and how sanitary they really are, I was sold! however, I do always keep an emergency stash of a couple tampons on hand in my car (just in case aunt Flo makes a surprise visit while I’m out) and at my house (in case a female guest has a need for one while over). No matter how amazing and handy a cup is, you can’t beat having a tampon just in case of needing to lend one or use one in a pinch. It’s nice that there’s a safer, more natural tampon available for those times!
I agree! That is kind of you to think of your guests too!! I use disposables while traveling to others’ homes, too.
Thanks so much for sharing this! I had an awful time with the Diva cup so this is just what I need.
Consider Cherish…Proctor and Gamble use recycled materials. Cherish is a all natural sanitary napkin with many healthful benefits. It was a product in Asia for 20 years and finally we got it to the states.
Menstrual cups are amazing (as others have commented) although there can be an ick factor for newbies. I also LOVE re-usable cloth pads! I sew my own (they are simple to make) but there are many, many makers you can order them from. These are so economical and good for the enivronment since you aren’t throwing anything away (like you still have to do with these alternative tampons). And, you save money because you don’t buy supplies every month.
Thank you for your article. As a woman who is nearing menopause, I still needed this reminder to change my habits “down there”.
I can’t wait to try the Lola products! Let me rephrase that; I can wait (ugh) until that time of month comes again, but I hope that knowing there are better products for my body will help ease the pain!
Blessings to you!
With older young girls, this is a good reminder. Thank you. For those who really want to forget that Aunt Flo is visiting, especially for those with heavier periods, a menstrual cup is really the ticket! (Women who don’t have super heavy periods can empty it once or twice a day – so much nicer than tampons/pads.) I moved to homemade pads 10 years ago and bought a cup about 5 years ago. I still have my pads, but the girls feel awkward using them and have flat out turned me down about a cup.
Another natural alternative that I’ve seen are reusable sea sponges. I have no personal experience with those, but women do use them along with organic tampons and pads probably found at your local health food store. Footprint is a bit less not shipping across the Atlantic for us U.S. readers and supports our own companies.
I considered trying a cup for about 5 seconds once. My periods are crazy and I currently go through a super tampon AND a pad about once every two hours on my heavy days. I can’t even begin to consider what it would be like using a cup with my kind of period. Tampons and pads together are my best alternative, and I have been looking for a more natural alternative to the US tampon industry. I just placed my first order with Lola and I am looking forward to giving them a try. Thank you for this information and for pointing us in a more healthy direction.
Aren’t tampons unable to catch clots? If you are going through that heavily that may be part of the issue. Since cups catch rather than absorb, that may make some difference. But your comfort is what matters.
Please consider cherish or research cherish. Cherish has changed some lives. Even changed tampon lover lives…
Question regarding them… Do they expand in a 360 degree shape (like Playtex Sport types), or do they expand into a rectangular shape (like Tampax types)? One of them works for me, and the other doesn’t. Thanks!
I think CHERISH would be a better choice for you ladies. Really look into cherish it is more then just a pad…it is all natural and the negative ion strip controls the ph/hormonal balance and the cramps. Has been known to takeaway the cramps completely. Also is super absorbent, holds 300x the fluids, so you won’t be sitting in your own fluids.